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The Lurker

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  1. Hello everyone,


    Here's an update about Canopy : I managed to extract files from a really old cloned copy of an even older hard drive, and finally found the fan patch I made back in 2008. Here's the list of changes for the unofficial v1.0.5 (taken straight from the README file) :


    v1.0.5 - The Lurker
    11/04/08 - Yet More Major Updates (warning : spoilers)

            *Fixed a bunch of typos, updated both Readme files.
            *Changed scenario rating from "Everyone" to "Mature" due to profanity and violence.
                    *Changed Salquj's unidentified name from "Greatsword" to "Sword", since it was made one-handed in the previous version.
                    *The Holy Warriors can no longer teleport onto water. They can also no longer be on the same spot. They can still, however, teleport onto pillars, but that's intentional (they can still be hit).
                    *Fixed a bug that would cause the Dark Idol statue to reappear after it had been defeated.
                    *Fixed a bug that would cause an undefined function error in the Tiger Lair.
            *Fixed a minor bug related to Abhijit.
                    *Naturshand will now properly take 40 SP (instead of just 25) from you when you use it.
                    *Attempting to enter Machtschrein by fighting the guards will now simply get you killed (as opposed to both killing you AND kicking you out of the scenario).
                    *Fixed a bug in Kedalvasser that would allow you to enter Leader's mansion without attacking the guards.
            *Whether you take Alexander's bribe no longer affects Dryfus's reward.
            *Attacking General Adlerauge in the Catacombs before you meet Emery's Shades will now get you killed.
            *Increased General Adlerauge's range of sight (he wouldn't react if you shot at him from afar).
            *Fixed a major display bug when meeting Zauberer.
            *Zauberer should now be utterly unkillable if you don't use the mirror.
            *Made it a bit more obvious that Zauberer takes damage from the mirror. He'll also take longer to die.
            *The dialog pictures for both the White Shade and the Black Shade are now displayed properly.
                    *Attacking the White Shade or the Black Shade will now get you killed.
                    *Attempting to make the scenario behave weirdly by killing the guard(s) at the entrance of Fortress Grenze before you enter the fortress will now get you killed. Attacking Lealta will also get you killed.
            *Fixed a bug that would cause the gatekeeper to appear twice.
                    *Lichtschild now works as intended.
                    *Fixed lots of display bugs that occured whenever talking to Trahison (and, to a lesser extent, Unumstš§lich).
            *Tetra-Disaster's base damage has been raised from 75 to 100.
            *Fixed the bug that would cause Todmacher or Klugmann to reappear after you had killed them (this time for real). The fight on the last floor of Fortress Grenze now works as intended.
            *The Summon Archangel spell now lasts 10 turns instead of merely 2-3 turns, as was originally intended. The Archangel is now a mage instead of an archmage/archpriest. It also has a... special ability... (see hints on fighting Red General Shroud if you don't mind spoilers).
                    *Prevented friendly, summoned goblins from attacking the Archangel.
            *Added "can't go there in combat mode" warnings in the Border Guard.
            *Made three more graphic sheets for General Shroud for the Windows version, since BoA's "tints" don't work for Windows users.
            *Fixed the Scry spell, and made it display more info on General Shroud.
            *Fixed a bug that could cause General Shroud to briefly disappear before turning blue.
            *General Shroud can no longer absorb/reverse/burn the invulnerability of the character who summons Archangel.
            *Blue General Shroud is now immune to every single attack spell, and will regain a significant amount of HP when absorbing invulnerability.
            *Green General Shroud will now disable Divine Restoration (and give it back after you defeat him); and will properly reverse blessings and invulnerability.
            *Red General Shroud will now significantly lower your HP if you use invulnerability. He will also deal 65 unblockable damage per turn instead of 50, but there's now a way to prevent it...
            *Fixed a display bug that could occur when talking to Miraa.
            *Fixed a bug that could prevent the Obispopiedra from appearing.


    Like I said before, I'd really like to test it before uploading it, since I made it such a long time ago and barely remember anything about Canopy. At least I finally got around to buying and downloading Blades of Avernum from GOG...

  2. Hmm. I've just checked my backup, and sadly it seems my versions are at least as outdated as what's available online right now. I do remember that I sent TM a fan-made patch for Canopy : Manufactured Womb on Shadow Vale many years ago, but I don't think he ever uploaded it... It fixed a number of bugs, especially regarding the final boss fight, which (if I remember correctly) still didn't work as intended in the final version TM released. I'll see if I can find a copy of it, but since I'd have to test it again before uploading it... Yep, it's likely to take some time.

  3. You can download the ISO file of the Homeland CD here : https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ECL5mkblq7kM18I3DKMzRKm6I23x_pWt/view?usp=share_link


    Mount the ISO file using your favorite ISO mounting program. I use Gizmo Central : http://loganmueller.com/gizmo/download.html


    Open the virtual CD-ROM drive with the File Explorer, then run SETUP.EXE as Administrator. Choose to install everything, including the movies. Once you're done installing, find the game folder on your hard drive. It will likely be either "C:\Program Files\DragonLore\Homeland" or "C:\Program Files (x86)\DragonLore\Homeland".


    Next, download 7-zip : https://www.7-zip.org/


    Then, download the latest patch for Homeland : https://drive.google.com/file/d/13H7JOyPF7ZBniXHDGWfqqxbd2EUe_hX6/view?usp=share_link


    Unzip that file with 7-zip. You will be asked to enter a password. The password is HPatch


    Run the exe file that was unzipped as Administrator. Be sure that the game folder that's displayed is the right one. Tick the "Backup files" box if you wish, then click on Apply.


    Go back to the game folder in the File Explorer. Copy Homeland.exe, switch back to your desktop, right-click on an empty space on your desktop, and choose to Paste a shortcut (click on something that should be called "Show more options" if that particular option isn't available).


    Finally, if you're using any Windows above Windows 7, chances are the game won't work too well, so you'll need to do one last thing before playing. Head to narzoul's DDrawCompat page on GitHub and download DDrawCompat-v0.3.2.zip : https://github.com/narzoul/DDrawCompat/releases/tag/v0.3.2


    Unzip the file. Copy ddraw.dll and paste it into the game folder. You will likely need Windows Administrator privileges to do this.


    Close all File Explorer windows and run the game with the shortcut you created on your desktop. Enjoy.


    If you have any questions about the game or get stuck, I'd be happy to provide more help.

  4. All right, here we go for the basic cheat :


    "Slightly Overpowered" character : Character at Level 22, with most skills at or near 30. Mostly tested (I completed a good chunk of the game and saw the Trajkov ending without encountering any bugs). Torment Trajkov can still kill you after he uses the Geneforge, and some nasty mines will kill you as well if you aren't careful. https://www.mediafire.com/file/8sbr4oii88x5j4m/z0dockcan.txt/file


    "Killing Machine" : Character at Level 94, with most skills at or near 90. Tested the canister effect itself and the first few areas, but otherwise mostly untested. Still, I'd bet even Über Trajkov wouldn't last long against this character. https://www.mediafire.com/file/yre7nvtoe2czhd8/z0dockcan.txt/file


    Instructions : Copy & Paste z0dockcan.txt into the Scripts folder (inside the "Geneforge Mutagen Files" folder that's inside your Geneforge folder). Then start a new game and use the very first canister. Enjoy.

  5. I've been tinkering with the game scripts and I may make one within a few days - it shouldn't be too difficult. In fact, I may post a cheat to make the very first canister (in the very first area of the game) turn your character into an unstoppable killing machine later today.

  6. Hello everyone!


    I'm currently preparing a long overdue playthrough of Homeland : The Stone of Night, but in the meantime, I figured it's about time I shared the soundtrack with you.

    The Homeland soundtrack is actually within the game executable in MDS (MidiStream) format. This is an old Microsoft format that was, I believe, made specifically for games. I extracted the files from Homeland.exe using XN Resource Editor, and converted them back to standard MIDI files using a program I wrote. I then converted them to WAV files using OBS Studio and ffmpeg.

    Be advised, the MIDI files were only ever meant to be played with the Windows APIs or Windows Media Player with the infamous GM.DLS soundfont and using any other method may cause them to sound odd. So, if you're using a Mac and want the best experience, just listen to the WAV files instead.

    The Homeland soundtrack was mostly composed by Larry Mc Cormick, however there is also one song by Steven J. Morris and one song by Justin S. Ohlander. Also, the soundtrack has several "unidentified" songs that I believe may have been created by either Michael F. Morris or George E. Nowik, or possibly both (a screenshot from a VERY old alpha version of Homeland says that those two wrote songs for Homeland).


    Download Link : https://www.mediafire.com/file/m2hi05sq38r3knm/HomelandFullSoundtrack.zip/file


    Enjoy! You can also find a copy of the tracklist inside the archive within the "COMMENTS.txt" file.


    File name : 204
    Editor name : "Wizards of Light"
    True name : "Wizards of Light"

    By Steven J. Morris, this is a somewhat sad song. It plays when you are in the Thirsty Throat in Harbordale.

    Quote from the game : "This Harper sits and unobtrusively plays his music to the bar. The skill with which he plays does not reconcile itself to the dilapidated condition of the bar." - Narrator describing Savryn Mistbridge (from Chapter 2 : The Tests of Magic)

    File name : 331
    Editor name : "Homeland Intro"
    True name : "Opening Theme"

    By Justin S. Ohlander, this is the title screen theme.

    Quote from the game : "You see writing being cast with some kind of magical light onto a square piece of glass at the front of a box. You are surprised that you can read this writing... perhaps because it is magical you can comprehend it. It shows a picture of a Dothraki fighting a red demon-like woman and prints the text, "Homeland", then below, "The Stone of Night".  Curious, you quickly poke at the numerous buttons below the magic device. The screen changes to text saying "Lock Error 4" and starts crying out incessantly!" - Narrator describing the Earthling Dragon's computer (from the Chapter 5 : Isle of the Winds easter egg)

    File name : 356
    Editor name : "Steel"
    True name : Unknown (possibly just "Steel"?)

    This is the first of the "unidentified" songs. This one is actually used in-game and it's the theme for the forest that's south of WhiteWater.

    Quote from the game : "It cannot be described in words. You have to feel the leaves around you. Go and find out. It's not dangerous, despite what people claim." - Fyela describing life in the forest (from Chapter 1 : WhiteWater)

    File name : 357
    Editor name : "Temple"
    True name : Unknown (possibly just "Temple"?)

    This is the second of the "unidentified" songs. This one is actually used in-game and it's the theme for the Changelings' dungeon (in the Gilgamesh forest).

    Quote from the game : "This statue seems to show the body of a spider with the torso of a Changeling. It appears to be a painted stone, very brightly worked.  Inscribed beneath it are the words "Achtress, defined not by shape, bound not by form."" - Narrator (from Chapter 2 : The Tests of Magic)

    File name : 358
    Editor name : "Town"
    True name : Unknown

    This is the third of the "unidentified" songs. This one is actually used in-game and it's the song that plays when you are sailing. It also plays when you are close to (albeit outside) the Changelings' lair.

    Quote from the game : "Lent you his ship?  He would sooner lend you his woman or his sword. Do you have a preference on how you would like to die?" - Ryling "welcoming" Korr's party to Buolkaloch (from Chapter 4 : Buolkaloch)

    File name : 359
    Editor name : "MajHills"
    True name : Unknown (possibly "Majestic Hills"?)

    This is the fourth of the "unidentified" songs. It is never used in-game. It's also by far the longest track in the entire soundtrack (it's almost 5 minutes long).

    File name : 360
    Editor name : "Calling"
    True name : Unknown (possibly just "Calling"?)

    This is the fifth of the "unidentified" songs. It is never used in-game.


    File name : 371
    Editor name : "Free"
    True name : Unknown (possibly just "Free"?)

    This... uh... song? is the sixth of the "unidentified" songs. It is never used in-game. It's the weirdest (and, in my opinion, worst) song in the soundtrack.

    File name : 896
    Editor name : "Town2 - LM"
    True name : Probably "A Day in Town"

    By Larry Mc Cormick. This cheerful song is the theme for WhiteWater.

    Quote from the game : "Why, if it isn't the famous, heroic, fearless shepherd Korr! Oh wait, that was last week, before you got fired for falling asleep, wasn't it? I told you not to count those sheep all the time! I take it you haven't found a new job yet?" - Keegan (from Chapter 1 : WhiteWater)

    File name : 897
    Editor name : "Seige of the Undead - LM"
    True name : "Siege of the Undead"

    By Larry Mc Cormick. This sinister song is played when exploring Maglius's tomb, as well as when you are in the Phylund crypt below Harbordale and when you are inside the maze below Lauriston. In my opinion, this is one of the best songs in the game, and it fits Maglius really well.

    Quote from the game : "I'm afraid I'm one of the few that managed to remain sane. You can understand that waiting for two hundred years is a long time. But it had to be done, and we all knew what we were going into when we started this, ages ago. The ghouls in here used to be my friends. Now, they are mindless zombies, preying upon anything they can catch. Except for Maglius, they've lost so much of their mind that they can no longer speak or understand words. And Maglius, too, is pretty far gone by now." - Child Prophet Dianna (from Chapter 1 : WhiteWater)

    File name : 898
    Editor name : "Library - LM"
    True name : Possibly "Discovery"?

    This is the song that plays when you are in the Child Prophets' library. It fits the Child Prophets rather well.

    Quote from the game : "You wish to prove yourself? Very well. I will test your knowledge. If you're really the One you should have no problem. If you're not, well then, you're a dead man." - Braccus

    File name : 968
    Editor name : "Sewer - LM"
    True name : Possibly "In the Muck"?

    This song is the theme for the Sewers of Mandelin.

    Quote from the game : "The manual override is a provision set up in case of emergency, and we are proud to say that it has never yet been used. The lever itself resides to the north and then the east of the control room. Two people are required in order to operate the override.  One must cross the bridge and flip the override,  causing the bridge to raise.  The other must not cross, and then flip the switch on the shore, which will again lower the bridge and allow the first person to return." - From a book inside the Sewers of Mandelin (from Chapter 1 : WhiteWater)

    File name : 1104
    Editor name : "Water - LM"
    True name : "Magic Tests"

    This track plays in the area where you undertake the magic tests in Lauriston.

    Quote from the game : "This whistle is the key to our fate. It is a magical whistle, and when you blow it, I will hear. Find a path through the Catacombs.  When you find another exit, blow the whistle, and I will come. Then, we will finally be free of this pit of despair. We will finally run free in the winds once again." - Cas the Hound (from Chapter 2 : The Tests of Magic)

    File name : 1205
    Editor name : "Lauriston - LM"
    True name : "Lauriston"

    This song is the theme for Lauriston and it's one of my favorite songs in the game.

    Quote from the game : "I freely admit that I sometimes question whether what we do is right... It is hard for me to condone killing children, whether they can use magic or not, but at least we are TRYING to better the world, make it a safe place with laws and justice. Keep in mind that I am Captain of Training, and that my questioning is probably what has kept me from having a field position. My views are not shared by all members of the Legions." - Teirwyn (from Chapter 2 : The Tests of Magic)

    File name : 1206
    Editor name : "Castle - LM"
    True name : Unknown (possibly just "Castle"?)

    An unused track by Larry McCormick. Perhaps it was originally meant to be the theme for the King's castle in Lauriston. This is by far my favorite unused song.

    Quote from the game : "The Seat of the Realm is in Lauriston, as you see before you. In theory, my realm consist of the whole of Octavia... from Land Bridge to the north down to WhiteWater in the south.  From the Dragon's Spine mountains on the west to Lauriston and Harbordale in the east. In practice, there's a great big chunk of mess in the middle called Gilgamesh Forest.  To this day, it goes relatively unexplored except for the perimeter and a small path to the old Citadel of Light in the middle. It is still inhabited by dark creatures, too deadly to fight." - King Eirdoel Hafenwyd (from Chapter 2 : The Tests of Magic)

    File name : 1214
    Editor name : "Tower - LM"
    True name : "The Tower"

    This song is the theme for the abandoned fortress of light. It fits everything that happens while you're there perfectly, in my opinion.

    Quote from the game: "Here it is!  What I warned of... Korik knows of it too... I have tried to convince him he needs to help me, but he is frightened. He has done what he can to help... his notes could prove invaluable in the future, but Korik has determined to leave soon. This grave danger is almost as maddening as the situation with the man in black back home. Why is it that I am inevitably drawn into crisis after crisis. On Caelestia or here, it matters not." - from Melcor's journal (from Chapter 3 : Citadel of Light)

    File name : 1443
    Editor name : "Volcano - LM"
    True name : "The Volcano"

    This song is the (epic!) theme for the Isle of the Dead.

    Quote from the game : "Well, well, well... if it isn't the little lackey of the Soul Devourer. Come to bring him his precious little Stone." - The first Maskim (from Chapter 6 : Isle of the Dead)

    File name : 1444
    Editor name : "Winds - LM"
    True name : Possibly "Desert Winds"?

    This song is the theme for the Isle of the Winds (also known as the Isle of Dragons).

    Quote from the game : "Man and Dragon have, historically, not been the best of friends. In fact, man was considered by Dragon to be the vermin of this planet, and Man considered killing Dragons to be a method of proving his worth. Several generations ago, my ancestors swore an Oath to the Dragons that we would insure their safe return to this planet, if they would venture off through the Void and try living a lifetime as a Man. This was the Dragon's idea, not Man's... Dragons have eternally been much more willing to give Man a chance than visa-versa." - Suess (from Chapter 5 : Isle of the Winds)

    File name : 1445
    Editor name : "Desert - LM"
    True name : Unknown (possibly just "Desert")

    This song plays when you are exploring the "less civilized" areas of Octavia.

    Quote from the game : "There exists a subset of planes in the multiverse from which the inhabitants are typically known as 'Demons'. For the most part, the inhabitants of these planes have hence gotten a very bad name for themselves. Demons are typically categorized based upon two criteria. The first is that they are manufactured through magic. This does not mean that once created, they cannot procreate... some can and some cannot. But typically a Demon is created for some purpose. The second criteria is that they are typically known for evil deeds. Usually, this is their sole purpose upon creation. They are sent to kill someone or many someones, sometimes a whole world. From this they gain their bad reputation. Sometimes the lines are blurry... the IceBrothers and FireSisters are both Demons in the sense that they were created by magic, for purposes unknown any longer. While on this world, I have seen both races perpetrate evil deeds and commit acts of great good. Yet the FireSisters are more commonly considered Demons, and the IceBrothers are not. In truth, either both should be or neither. And then for another example, take me and my sisters. We were created to guard the DemonSlayer, a weapon forged by magic, in truth a Demon itself, created to slay other Demons. While it is true that I slay any who attempt to reach the DemonSlayer, I do not think I am inherently evil. I may, in fact, be helping the multiverse. For if the DemonSlayer fell into the wrong hands... all Hell could break loose." - The Guardiennes

    File name : 1446
    Editor name : "Buolkaloch - LM"
    True name : "Lands of Frost"

    This song plays when you are in Buolkaloch. I love it!

    Quote from the game : "Most Ugs say 'Ug' because it is the only word they know. I, however, say 'Ug' for a number of reasons. One reason is that it serves as a bitter reminder that my superior intelligence sets me apart from my own kind. A second reason is that because I am different, most people treat me poorly. Convincing them that I am a menacing beast that says 'Ug' keeps most people a safe distance away. Those that get past the 'Ug' are
    usually people worth knowing, like our good Cap'n Sar." - Ug Li (from Chapter 4 : Buolkaloch)

    File name : 1529
    Editor name : None
    True name : Unknown (though I'm starting to wonder if this could be the mysterious song known as "The Void")

    Yet another awesome song by Larry Mc Cormick, this is the theme for the Credits sequence.

  7. Originally Posted By: Sum Manus Nigrum
    Combat isn't all that bugged in BoE.

    Riiiight. There are very few fatal bugs, other than the blue screen of death that was recently mentioned, but seriously. There are many things that don't work as intended when fighting.

    -Blessing trick : Blessing enough makes you invulnerable to physical attacks.
    -Undead and Demons pierce through armor (or most of the armor, anyway).
    -"Stacking" exploding arrows : The last arrow will just blow up without doing any damage.
    -Invulnerable monsters : Are not immune to physical and Death Touch attacks. They are immune to most spells, but oddly enough, Ravage Spirit will still do 1 damage to invulnerable Demons.
    -End Combat Trick : Monsters act much more slowly in town mode, and they are also likely to move *without attacking* for no apparent reason. It is possible to have a monster act more than once per turn in town mode, but it would have to be very, very fast. Ending combat early tends to make monsters much less frightening.
    -Causes Fear weapons : Are ridiculously powerful. You can make the Nightmare Guardian in Revenge run away after a few hits, and it should be said that the Nightmare Guardian had a very high amount of courage.
    -Artificial Stupidity : As I mentioned in a Lyceum thread, monsters are *supposed* to go around things that block their way, but in quite a few cases, they don't. Sometimes it'll be possible to shoot at enemies that are behind a bunch or rocks or a table without having to worry about retaliation.

    There's more, but you get the idea. The blessing trick is especially annoying for designers, because it makes most melee monsters very weak unless you're willing to take out the player's blessing spells (as Thuryl did) or have the monsters use special curse spells (like Skirn and the Seraphim, if I remember correctly).
  8. Thuryl : Nope, actually, I was more or less replying to this :


    You're lacking in experimental spirit. A game is a game, not a simulation: it's fun to find the ways that you can mess up the plot. Again, preventing the player from sequence-breaking in this way takes out a lot of replay value. Maybe this sounds like a strange opinion to you, but I think it's better for a game to have a few exploitable bugs in it: it gives people something to find and feel clever about themselves because they did something the game designer never thought of. A designer who's too smart to be outwitted is less fun to play against.


    Don't get me wrong, I think Roots is fantastic. But it also proves that BoE designers *have* to take the bugs and engine exploits into account if they want to make fun combat (with the possible exception of a few scenarios like Nebulous Times Hence). Sure, when you first find out about the boatload of bugs Exile has, it's fun to abuse blessing spells so you can easily take out high-level melee warriors with a Level 1 party. But in the end, it also makes "regular" playthroughs way too easy.

  9. Originally Posted By: Enraged Slith
    I find Exile much more enjoyable than Avernum, and, yes, I did start with Exile. I also find [...] Blades of Avernum more fun than Blades of Exile.

    You like the Exile series more than the Avernum series, but you like BoA more than BoE? Are you sure you didn't make a typo? tongue

    Anyway... I think both the Exile and Avernum games have their share of very good stuff and pretty bad stuff...

    What I like in Exile :

    *Up to six party members
    *Field spells
    *Poisoned weapons
    *Conveyor belts
    *No-type (or maybe Darkness, whatever) damage spells (Shockwave, Wound)
    *AoE spells, like Divine Thud
    *Sleep Cloud
    *Scry Monster
    *Death Touch
    *Summoning items that can summon a monster from the database (yes, I'm mostly thinking of BoE for that one)
    *Characters that can get all of the positive and negative traits
    *Being able to choose where your summons appear

    What I like in Avernum games 1, 2, and 3 :

    *Laser puzzles. A shame we lost the conveyor belts in the process, really.
    *As was said before, I really do like the Being Able To Attack In Town Mode feature. Sure, entering combat mode in Exile to whack one monster is no problem, but when you do it a hundred times, it does get somewhat tedious.
    *The game is much more balanced and much less "clunky" overall. Like Thuryl, I like undertaking crazy challenges in Exile; but unlike him, I don't think the player *should* have to rely on an insane amount of bugs to have fun (blessing fun, undead trick, end combat trick, luck abuse...). I think it's up to the designer to make a game as fun as possible with as few bugs as possible. In Exile and many BoE scenarios, I *have* to fight high-level enemies with a low-level party if I want to have fun. In Avernum, this isn't true anymore. And even if you do want to have something to brag about, simply fight enemies with a moderately higher (as opposed to much higher) level than yours.
    *The amount of useless spells has been reduced. There are still a few useless spells (Arcane Summon is terrible in A1 and Divine Host is useless until A3 and BoA), but not nearly as many as in Exile. High-level spells are much more useful, too. In Exile, all you really needed was low-level spells. With a few exceptions like Antimagic Cloud, most high-level spells weren't all that useful.
    *Overall, I do like Jeff's Avernum games better than Jeff's Exile games, but had Exile been less buggy and less ridiculously imbalanced, it would have been another story.
  10. 1. More or less. The idea is that you'll almost never have to attack your enemies yourself. Instead, you'll rely heavily on stealth, leadership and mechanics.


    2. Yes, you will, at times, have to hire goons who will do most of the work for you.


    3. Yes. Your bodyguards will probably not be able to win every battle on their own.


    4. Well, yes, because a "no-combat" character will only have to use creations as cannon fodder or explorers. If at all. Not to mention that you cannot directly control the NPCs you hire.


    5. Yes... But while your enemies do get stronger with a harder difficulty level, your allies will also get stronger.


    6. Hmm. I believe the tutorial areas in most Geneforge games do require you to pick up a weapon, but there's nothing that prevents you from dropping it after completing the tutorial area.


    EDIT : And a "no-combat" character shouldn't act as a meatshield. Rather, he or she will focus on trying to avoid taking damage as much as possible.

  11. Seconded, ADoS. Oh, and this part is especially funny :


    Originally Posted By: Niemand
    The existence of the spaceship makes *i's universe incompatible with Jeff's, even though they are otherwise the same.


    Have you ever played Stareye's BoE scenarios? wink


    Anyway, ADoS got me pretty much right : my point was that it's useless for a designer to try to keep up with Jeff's "canon" (or lack thereof, considering the huge amount of "retconning" he's done over the years). If you start ignoring things that don't fit well in Jeff's universe, you might as well ignore the story in a lot of Blades scenarios.

  12. Originally Posted By: Niemand
    since the existence of a spaceship is so grossly out of canon

    Well, yes and no. A spaceship would seem out of place in an Avernum game, but it is most certainly "canon" in Stareye's universe.

    I mean, seriously. Many good scenarios do what they want with the Exile/Avernum universe : TM's series, Stareye's series, The Arc, Doom Moon...
  13. Since I wouldn't be surprised if people were still having trouble, I thought I would share some strategies I used to finish the challenge area on Torment.


    I would personally recommend having the Firesteel Gauntlets and possibly even the Firesteel Greaves ready, considering how much Charm can help.





    Spawning Platforms


    This is a gauntlet where you'll face Ur-Glaahks, Ur-Drakons, Rotdhizons and Gazers. The game will warn you when a new monster is created (although it won't tell you where). You will also have to face three powerful monsters : a Corrupted Gazer, a Corrupted Drakon and a Corrupted Glaahk. It's best to be able to do fire, physical, magic, and possibly ice damage here, so pick your creations accordingly. Fire is useful against Glaahks, physical damage is useful against Gazers and Drakons, Magic damage is useful against Rotdhizons, and Ice damage is useful against Drakons. The Corrupted Drakon is probably the toughest of the monsters. Try to charm any "regular" monsters nearby. Forcing it to use its melee attack isn't a bad idea either, since Drakons are pretty much always weaker in melee. This battle can be pretty long, but it shouldn't be too hard.



    Rotdhizon Gauntlet


    One trick here is to put all of your party members right behind the door that leads to the Gauntlet. Then send a weak creation like a Drayk to attack one of the Rotdhizons. It will get killed, but most of the Rotdhizons will be alerted. They will try to swarm you, but since your party members are behind the door, only one Rotdhizon will be able to attack you. Then you can pick them off one by one.



    Charged Drakon, Glaahk Gauntlet, Pairbond Constructs


    Things get a bit more complicated. The next boss is a Drakon. It can't move, and as soon as you enter its laboratory, it will make a Stinging Clawbug (which can poison you and slow you), and a Gazer (which hits pretty hard). Should you ever destroy one of these creations, the Charged Drakon will make another as soon as it moves again. The problem is that right now, the Charged Drakon is pretty much immune to everything except poison and acid, and killing it with only poison and acid attacks would take a very long time. So unless you're willing to spend a lot of time on this fight, it's probably not a good idea to try. In order to disable the Charged Drakon's shield, you need to shut down a power spiral. This power spiral is in the tunnels west of the laboratory. You will have to get past the Glaahk Gauntlet and the Pairbond Constructs to reach it. Naturally, this means that the Charged Drakon's creations will hunt you down as you explore. Fortunately for you, the Stinging Clawbug should be fairly easy to charm no matter what character class you're playing. If it's close enough to the Gazer, it may even attack it. You need to be very skilled at mental magic to be able to reliably charm the Gazer. If you're not, just slow it and heal yourself when it attacks you.


    The Glaahk Gauntlet should be cleared before you take on the Pairbond Constructs. No special tricks here, it should be fairly easy. They're weak to fire as always. Drakons and Charm spells can help. Once they're all dead, flee the area to heal yourself and prepare for the Pairbond Constructs.


    The Pairbond Constructs are extremely dangerous. When going through the hall that leads to their room, you will notice that at one point, the walls of the hall are no longer dark green brick walls, but rather bright green cave walls. Once you cross this line, the Pairbond Constructs will notice you and start hunting you down.

    Back to the Constructs themselves. There are two of them. Each turn, they will launch one of two possible special spells (in addition to their normal attacks). They will also never use the same special spell twice in a row, so their pattern is extremely predictable.


    The Pairbond Construct on the left platform, which I will call "Pairbond Construct A", is one of the deadliest foes in the whole game in terms of sheer attack power. It has a Curtain of Fire spell that can deal well over 1200 damage on Torment, as well as an Aura of Terror spell. This is also the construct that will drop the Puresteel Soulblade.


    The Pairbond Construct on the right platform, which I will call (guess what) "Pairbond Construct B", has an Acid Spray spell that does acid damage and inflicts acid status to everyone nearby. It it an extremely powerful spell (albeit slightly less powerful than Pairbond Construct A's Curtain of Fire spell). This construct also has a slowing spell that slows everyone nearby. If you hasted yourself a lot before the battle started, this shouldn't be too much of a problem.

    The two Pairbond Constructs have a ranged attack that will remind you of the Searing Orbs and Diamond Spray spells from previous Geneforge games, and they also have a melee attack which deals heavy magical damage. Oh, and it stuns you too.

    Thuryl recommends using Strong Daze. However, unless you're a mental heavy character (like Thuryl's sorceress), it is not a viable strategy, as the Strong Daze spells will fail very often.


    I am going to explain the strategy I always use to defeat them. It is the most efficient one I've found so far, it's not extraordinarily difficult to pull off, and it should work with any character class.

    This strategy involves defeating Pairbond Construct A, then most likely fleeing the area and coming back to defeat Pairbond Construct B.


    You will need to split your party into two groups. Group B will be made solely of one or more Rotghroths/Rotdhizons (but preferably Rotdhizons) and will be tasked with distracting Pairbond Construct B as long as possible. Group A will have your main character and most of your creations. It will be tasked with defeating Pairbond Construct A. When Pairbond Construct A falls, Group A can either attempt to defeat Pairbond Construct B (not recommended unless you're feeling brave) or flee the area. In the latter case, the creations in Group A will become expendable and protect the main character at any cost as he or she attempts to retreat to the Okavano Barrier. If Group B is destroyed while Group A is nowhere close to the Spawning Platforms hall (and it will most likely happen), one or more of the creations in Group A will sacrifice themselves to slow down Pairbond Construct B (it WILL come after you) while the main character retreats.


    Cast the blessings before going through the Charged Drakon's laboratory. Everyone should be heavily blessed, hasted and shielded. Elemental Aura is a good idea too. Group A should have Essence Blade (with the possible exception of the main character : if you're a "frail" class like the Lifecrafter, you're better off with something like Essence Infusion). You might find it useful to cast "defensive" Essence blessings on the creation(s) in Group B to help it/them survive longer.


    Ready? So let's do this. First, bear in mind that Group B does not need to have many creations. Depending on Group A's power, one Rotdhizon may be enough. Second, Group A will need to do heavy damage very quickly. Gazers would do nicely, but you will need to take care to avoid the Curtain of Fire spell as much as possible. Drakons and Ur-Drakons would be very useful, since not only will they do a lot of damage, they can also take a few hits from the Curtain of Fire spell and still stay alive (of course, healing them as much as you can is still a good idea).

    Party placement is important. When you reach the hall that leads to the constructs, have Group B move as close as possible to the "dividing line" I mentioned earlier. Make them stay near the eastern wall, too. Put Group A near the lever. Then make sure the Stinging Clawbug and the Gazer are temporarily taken care of. The Stinging Clawbug should be charmed, and if possible, tricked into attacking the Gazer. If the Stinging Clawbug runs away after being charmed, cast Essence Shackles on the Gazer. If you are playing as a physically frail character class and failed to have the Stinging Clawbug attack the Gazer, have one of the creations in Group A attack the Gazer once just so it won't attack your main chracter.


    Now that you're ready, it's time to start the attack. Have Group B move east/northeast of Pairbond Construct B. Group B must be within the attack range of Pairbond Construct B, but out of the attack range of Pairbond Construct A. This is very important. Have Group A do nothing for now (just heal if you took a hit from the Gazer). If you did things right, this is what will happen :


    Pairbond Construct B will cast Acid Spray. Fortunately, only Group B will be within range. And because Rotghroths and Rotdhizons are nearly immune to acid, Group B will take very little damage. Pairbond Construct B will then attack Group B with one of its regular attacks.

    Pairbond Construct A will cast Curtain of Flame. Because Group A is near the lever, it will be well out of the spell's range. Group B should not get hit by this attack either (if it did, it was too close to the constructs). Pairbond Construct A will then move towards Group A (and possibly attack it).


    Have every creation in Group A attack Pairbond Construct A from a distance. Your main character must cast Wrack on the construct. Again, if you are playing a frail class, you might have gotten badly hit by a Searing Orbs spell. If so, drink from a healing item before casting Wrack. If you are wearing two or more AP-boosting items, you can use a healing spell instead of a healing item. If you did not get hit and still have AP left after casting Wrack, you might want to just wait. Attacking Pairbond Construct A yourself is quite risky. If you get its attention, it might hit you with a stunning attack next round. Still, if you have a very tough main character, it's your choice.

    Have Group B do whatever it takes to survive as long as possible. The most efficient way to do this seems to be to repeatedly run away from Pairbond Construct B, while keeping it reasonably far from Group A. Right now, run towards, say, the power spiral or the rubble east of the power spiral.


    Pairbond Construct A will then cast Aura of Terror and attack Group A normally. Not too many of your creations should be affected (hopefully none). What you do now depends on your character class and your creations. If you're using Drakons (or Ur-Drakons), you can keep attacking the construct. Be warned, you will get hit by a Curtain of Flame next turn, but your Drakons should be able to survive. Again, if you have a very tough main character, you can stay to heal your creations and even attack Pairbond Construct A yourself. If your creations can handle being hit by Curtain of Flame but not you, have the creations attack Pairbond Construct A while your main character runs away. Then you can simply come back next round : Aura of Terror cannot affect your main character. If you do not want your creations to get hit by Curtain of Flame (or if a creation "fled in terror" to the south), have everyone run away. Then start attacking again. Cure any creation with the Fear status.

    Pairbond Construct B will cast Slowing Aura (not that it matters) and attack Group B. Group B must, as always, try to survive by running away.


    And that's pretty much it. Keep using these tactics, and Pairbond Construct A should fall reasonably quickly. If the charmed Stinging Clawbug and the Gazer are doing battle nearby, don't forget that you can keep the Stinging Clawbug charmed longer by casting Charm on it while it is already charmed. If you choose to try to withstand the Curtain of Flame attacks instead of running away from them, you can cast Essence Shackles on Pairbond Construct A. It will make its next moves less predictable, but it will also make it act less often, which can be helpful.


    When Group A wins, you should probably try to get out of here as fast as you can, as I said above. Pairbond Construct B will go after Group A once Group B is destroyed, and it's best to leave the area unless Group A is extremely strong.


    When you've restored your character to full health and essence, come back to the Disposal Vault. Make as many Rotdhizons as reasonably possible (leave a bit of essence for blessing spells). Cast Essence Blade, Haste, War Blessing, and Shielding as usual. Cast Elemental Aura as well. When you're ready, step through the door at the end of the Spawning Platforms hall. Have your Rotdhizons move in the corner east/northeast of the entrance to the Charged Drakon's laboratory (the corner *outside* the lab, obviously). If you are playing a physically strong class, you can move your character near them. If not, stay a safe distance away from them. Don't go *too* far away from your Rotdhizons, though. You must still be within healing range. Now wait for Pairbond Construct B to come (that's right, it's still after you). You can even wait in town mode rather than in combat mode. Once it shows up, just have your Rotdhizons pummel it to death, healing as needed. Yet again, if your main character can't withstand the Acid Spray attack, heal only when Pairbond Construct B is about to cast Aura of Terror. Stay away when it is about to cast Acid Spray.


    When it dies, you can finally go to the power spiral without being threatened. Well, the Charged Drakon's creations will still attack you, but you know how to keep them busy by now. You need 10 Mechanics to safely shut down the spiral, but with all the items that boost the Mechanics skill, that shouldn't be a problem. Even if you've been heavily neglecting Mechnanics, you should still be able to make it blow up. Your main character should run away if you're told that the spiral is going to explode, but one creation will need to stay near it (the power spiral will only explode if one of your party members is close enough to it - stupid but true).


    Once the power spiral is disabled, go back to town if you feel like it, then take on the Charged Drakon. The Stinging Clawbug (and, if possible, the Gazer) should be charmed as always. Have at least one tough party member attack the Charged Drakon in melee so that it won't use its ranged attack. Aside from that, use anything you want except fire attacks. It shouldn't be a difficult battle. Once it falls, kill the remaining enemies, then go back to town to rest.



    Flailing Mass


    After all you've been through, this is a piece of cake. Start by unlocking and pulling the lever in the room. Attack the Flailing Mass with your favorite attacks and creations and charm as many enemy creations as you can. When you're told that the Flailing Mass is almost fully charged, have everyone who can't withstand the incoming fire attack (it seems to be a slightly more powerful version of Pairbond Construct A's Curtain of Fire) move through the west door (hide behind the wall). Once it has used its ultra-powerful fire attack, move back into the room and attack it again. Repeat the process until it dies.





    Augmented Cryodrayks


    As you step out of the door, you will be in an area with some Augmented Cryodrayks. Once you attack one, chances are they will all come after you. Not much to say here, just kill them all. Charming a few of them will help. I found War Tralls and Gazers to be fairly useful here.



    Drayk Crya


    The leader of the Cryodrayks has an ice aura attack that hits everyone, but this is still a pretty easy fight. You shouldn't have any problems here.



    Now that the Cryodrayks are taken care of, there are several paths that lead to the Spectral Gazer and the Wormhost Rotghroth. Unfortunately, they're all mined except for one, and taking the only path that isn't mined will cause Sammann to send waves of very powerful creations to fight you. Trying to fight the other bosses while Sammann's creations are trying to kill you really isn't that good an idea, so I hope you can handle the mines. You need 15 Mechanics to be able to disarm them.



    Thuggish Tralls


    These things hit very hard and stun you to boot. Try to charm some of them. Making Gazers is probably not a good idea, they'll get killed very quickly. You're better off with War Tralls or Ur-Drakons.



    Wormhost Rotghroth


    This is a very powerful Rotdhizon that will make worms to support it as you damage it. Plated Burrowers are resistant to physical attacks, while Moist Burrowers are resistant to spells. In addition to this, there are three alcoves in the Wormhost Rotghroth's lair. The western one has Shock Tralls, while the eastern ones have Eyebeasts and Burning Kyshakks. When the Wormhost Rotghroth gets below 75%, 50%, and 25% health it will call allies from the alcoves. These enemies will always head straight for your main character (until you distract them with a creation), which can be very annoying. I personally like to get rid of the enemies in the alcoves before taking on the boss. To do this, do whatever is needed to distract the Wormhost Rotghroth (slow it, use a strong creation or two as cannon fodder...), pick an alcove, and kill everything inside it. You will need to make several attack runs (in fact, even a single alcove may take more than one attack run), but it's worth it. Once the enemies in the alcoves are dead, attack the Wormhost Rotghroth. Because it hits very hard, you should make creations that can resist physical damage, otherwise they won't last long. Charm the worms it summons and it should fall surprisingly quickly. When it dies, four Oozing Crawlers will appear. Kill'em all, as well as any remaining worms.



    Searing Kyshakks


    These Kyshakks should be taken out before you attack the Spectral Gazer. Unfortunately, attacking the Kyshakks without getting the Spectral Gazer's attention will require you to get dangerously close to Sammann's dome. This means that Sammann will make creations to hunt you, but it can't be avoided. Charm as many of these creations as you can. The Kyshakks themselves aren't too tough if you bring creations that can resist magic damage. Charming some of them can help, as always. Again, War Tralls and Ur-Drakons are pretty effective.



    Spectral Gazer


    Like the Pairbond Constructs, it uses special spells and like the Pairbond Constructs, its moves are very predictable. It has four special spells, which it will use in that order :


    Static Aura : Weakens, Slows, and Curses everyone nearby. May also randomly disable your Essence blessings.

    Acid Spray : Like Pairbond Construct B's; does heavy acid damage and inflicts acid status on everyone nearby.

    Aura of Terror : Like Pairbond Construct A's; attempts to inflict fear status on your nearby creations.

    Energy Cloud : Heavy magical damage to everyone nearby.


    It will also use Aura of Flames and Charm against you.


    So, basically, you have to attack, move any party member that can't handle the incoming elemental attack away from the Spectral Gazer, attack again, and so on. Wrack is very useful, but then, Wrack is always very useful. The Spectral Gazer, like all eyebeasts, is very weak to physical damage. Using Rotdhizons isn't a bad idea, since they will not need to avoid the acid attack. They will, however, get hurt by the Spectral Gazer's permanent Spineshield Aura, so be sure to heal them now and then. War Tralls are a good idea too, but they will need to most if not all of the elemental attacks (while they can survive one elemntal attack, they will still take a lot of damage). Shock Tralls can be great, but be sure to make them avoid every single elemental attack. Also watch out for any Charm spells, your Shock Tralls can kill one another very quickly.





    Sammann has six special spells :


    Make New Creation : Sammann tells his machinery to make a new creation, and guess what, it does. Sammann's creations are quite powerful, especially the Shock Trall. As always, charm as many of them as you can. Even a character who's not mental-heavy should be able to charm the cryodrayk with relative ease.

    Powerful Curse : Weakens, Slows, and Curses the target.

    Decaying Beam : Heavy acid damage on one target.

    Lance of Fire : Heavy fire damage on one target.

    Sun Heal : Allows Sammann to regenerate health outside his dome.

    Pylon Heal : Allows Sammann to regenerate health inside his dome.


    Whether Sammann uses Sun Heal or Pylon Heal depends on how much he's been damaged. Sammann changes healing modes every time you're told that his skin color changes.


    Sammann also uses a rather powerful Searing Orbs spell.


    First, you should lure Sammann outside his dome so that you won't take hits from his pylons (which are indestructible right now). The best way is to do this is to have a magic-resistant creation rush in and attack Sammann. Have it withdraw from the dome the next turn, and Sammann should follow it (assuming he isn't already busy trying to attack your main character). From there, you must :


    1) Charm (or try to charm) any creations that attack you;

    2) Cast Essence Shackles on Sammann;

    3) Cast Wrack on Sammann;

    4) Attack him with everything you've got;

    5) Use as many healing spells and healing items (including restoration spores) as needed.


    As Thuryl previously said, using AP-boosting equipment isn't a bad idea. Essence Blade is a must, but I shouldn't need to tell you that.


    Sammann really needs to be killed as quickly as possible. He's a mage, and therefore, he's very weak to physical damage. War Tralls are especially useful here (unlike Rotdhizons, they can attack from afar, so if Sammann runs inside his dome at one point, they will bne able to attack him without gettting within pylon range). Shock Tralls can do a *lot* of damage to Sammann, but don't expect them to last long when they're attacked. When Sammann dies, his pylons will take a huge amount of physical damage every round until they're destroyed.

  14. Originally Posted By: Taliesin
    I don't have a particularly good estimate, but Rawal's faction, if you can call it that, is not representative of a "complete" game. From what I've heard, at least. I haven't actually finished G5 yet.

    Click to reveal..
    Swearing loyalty to Rawal gets you a bad ending, but it is still technically an ending. It's also the only faction that does not require you to go through an "endgame" fight (namely, the Shaper Council or Ghaldring). It's the shortest and easiest path.

    But, anyway. The time required to finish a Geneforge game varies a lot depending on whether you take the no-combat path (which is much shorter than trying to do everything), how many quests you intend to undertake, how thorough you are when looting dungeons, and, for GF5 only, which difficulty setting you're using.

    As for me, I think it takes me around, oh, 30 hours per game per playthrough. Maybe a bit more if I intend to "powergame" the factions (in GF1, GF2, GF4 and GF5) and if it's my first time playing.
  15. First, let me start by saying that I'm usually not a big fan of the difficulty settings in Spiderweb games. In most Spiderweb games, Torment usually only makes a difference for pure singletons. A5 was different, but I felt that instead of making the battles genuinely epic, it just made them a bit harder and a LOT longer. It made me use my supplies much more, but I didn't really have to come up with innovative strategies.


    GF5, on the other hand, seems to be a different matter. Many strategies that work on Normal are ineffective on Torment and some battles genuinely made me think. Example : I've just beaten Ghaldring in Gazaki-Uss (not Inner Gazaki-Uss) and it was much harder than on Normal. Making a horde of Cryodrayks to kill Ghaldring as quickly as possible simply didn't work this time, I had to use more complicated tactics. Same goes for the Disposal Vault. Boss battles are definitely more challenging and enjoyable.


    Jeff keeps getting better at designing boss battles and making his games more balanced, it seems.

  16. Originally Posted By: Thuryl
    Unbound are supposed to be extremely difficult at that point in the game. That's why everyone warns you to avoid them. Come back when you have Wingbolts.

    I also found the lightning status effect to be especially useful against Unbound, so bringing at least one Kyshakk along may not be a bad idea. Especially on Torment.

    That said, I thought the Unbound were somewhat anticlimactic. They're pretty powerful compared to most random enemies, but they're not nearly as frightening as GF4 seemed to suggest. Granted, the Unbound in Gorash-Kel were supposed to be weaker than the average Unbound (or so says Sage Quothe, anyway), but the Okavano Unbound don't have that excuse.
  17. I've just tried with two savegames : One was right before I entered Kayar's Spire, and she wasn't there; and the other one was from the Dera Bridge. This time I went straight to the Zephyr Oasis, and she was indeed there (in the Private Quarters house, I believe). Weird.


    Oh well. Thanks for the help! smile

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